Thoughts on Leaving REIWA

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A full version of this post originally appeared in Property Portal Watch

PPT: How long have you been with REIWA?

CG: Three years. It’s flown by. Part of me says “hey your job is not over yet!” but then again I suppose I leave something on the table for the next person.

PPT: What prompted your departure from REIWA?

CG: I was lured away rather than spat out! The attraction of the new position I am going to is all consuming.

I compare it very much to my decision to leave the UK for Singapore in 1989, or leave Singapore for Perth in 1997, or leave teaching to set up a dotcom in 1999 – all HUGE decisions, not made lightly I can tell you. I have had 5 jobs in 27 years, so I don’t hop around. When I am in, I am all in. But I thought it through, bashed it around for a month or so, and obviously talked it through with my wife Lisa and a few close friends, my brother, etc. They were all very supportive.

PPT: When was the decision to leave the company made?

CG: Three weeks ago. The CEO of REIWA was actually away for a few days, so I told him first a few days later (giving over a month’s notice), and then the team the next day, individually.

PPT: Where – if you can disclose this information – are you going to? or elaborate what your plans are, going forward?

CG: I am going to Business News (renaming from the current ‘WA Business News’) which is a WA-based subscription business newspaper. They have an excellent reputation in the business/community over here, are innovative, positive and vibrant.

I supposed I am looking forward to a new industry and the opportunity to assist in developing their digital products and be a part of their future. I have long admired them (in the sense of being a subscriber and reader and attended many of their excellent events). I know some of the senior staff and really look forward to working alongside them. The position is a totally new. I suppose what they need is someone with actual hard won practical business/online experience to help guide them from a print-based present to a digital-based future, building on the excellent foundation they currently have. I can’t wait to get in there and roll up my sleeves.

PPT: What are some of the achievements you are particularly proud of during your time with REIWA?

CG: I hope I have been able to effect a few changes that are now embedded and will survive. And it’s a team game of course – I have not been able to do anything on my own. The 2 CEO’s I have worked under have been wonderfully supportive and forward-thinking; the entire executive team, and my reiwa.com and Member Services teams. All fantastic.

With them, I have been proud of the improvements we have made to reiwa.com – the coolest multi-purpose search (mixing suburb, region, keyword, ID, postcode all in one easy to use box) on any property site in my humble opinion. Anyone reading this – have a play on the home page search box to see what I mean. The site is humming and alive and has some unique features on it. Our ‘Best in WA’ campaign is a clever concept and going great guns for us.

I am proud of the 50% increase in unique visitors since I arrived in May 2010, and the increase in subscribers, depth revenue purchases, web development income – all at record levels. We passed one million visits for the month for the first time last October, and in January went sailing past it with 1.2m visits. These things have not been easy to do. Everyone has worked hard.

I am proud (my rivals will hate me for this) that in the latest Nielsen published traffic reports for WA, reiwa.com’s traffic has grown 21% in cwthe past year and my main 2 rival sites have seen their traffic fall 4% and 18% over the same period. You can’t argue with that!

PPT: Are there any regrets on your behalf…ie: plans you had in mind for the company which you wish you had achieved?

CG: I came to REIWA to make reiwa.com the #1 property portal in the State. You might get laughed at for even suggesting that in other States, but with reiwa.com you really do have that possibility. There was a time when it was #1. It can be again. The members want it (and they, remember, effectively OWN the site too), and they are so willing us to do it.

The only regret I have is I do not leave with reiwa.com being the clear number 1 site for property in WA (yet). It is clearly now on that path though. Again, it’s patchy – for some subscribers we DO deliver them more traffic/leads than anyone else, for others we are roughty the same as our main rival site(s), for others nowhere near as many. There is still work to be done.

Full interview: Property Portal Watch

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